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Hay and the Wye valley
  The tramway to England  

At the beginning of the 19th century, various tramways were constructed in South Wales to carry bulky and heavy goods in a more efficient way than on the roads which could be muddy and rutted in bad weather. These tramways were an early form of railway, but with horses pulling short trains consisting of small trucks.
A tramway from Brecon to Hay was opened in 1816. It was later extended into Herefordshire with a link to Burlingjobb in Radnorshire. This meant that coal could be brought up from South Wales and lime could be brought in for the farmers.

  painting of Hay around 1830
  The print above shows the town of Hay as seen from the north bank of the River Wye around 1830. The horse-drawn wagons can be seen at the centre of the picture on the embankment above the river. The level tramway between the river and the town was later to be used with the arrival of the steam railway in Hay in 1864.
This form of railway might seem primitive compared to a fast steam train, but it was a big improvement on horse-drawn road transport and was important in the early Victorian history of the area.

More about the tramway...


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